Most SMI newsletter readers are do-it-yourself (with help!) investors. That’s great, because spending time as your own financial advisor greatly increases the odds of learning at least the basics of investing and personal finance. That knowledge, plus the hands-on experience of making investment decisions, puts SMI members way ahead of most people.

But over the past 14 years, we’ve seen that many do-it-yourselfers eventually reach a point where they need or want an advisor.

The reasons vary. Some are trying to set up their affairs for the benefit of a spouse who has less investing interest or experience. Others find that while their skills were sufficient during the asset-accumulation phase of life, they see the benefit of having an advisor’s expertise as they reach retirement and the often-trickier asset-distribution phase. Still others just get tired of handling all of the financial management themselves and want to outsource the heavy lifting while also ensuring another set of eyes is fixed on their investing affairs.

Whatever the reason(s), once the decision is made to engage a financial advisor, there are key issues to address in order to find an advisor that is a good fit for you.